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Vancouver Sun and Province get new president, discuss content-sharing

A former managing editor of the Vancouver Sun is the new president and publisher of the newspaper, as well as The Province, it was announced today.

Gordon Fisher, most recently the president of the National Post, will now oversee the Pacific Newspaper Group, the company that manages the major B.C. dailies.

"A major focus of this year's business strategy is to redefine our organization and today we announced changes to the senior management group," wrote Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey in a statement. "I have great confidence that Gord will be able to parlay the successes he has had in Eastern Canada and bring his insights and passion to our BC operations."

Fisher succeeds Kevin Bent, who's held the job since 2006 but is now leaving to pursue other opportunities, according to Godfrey's statement.

Postmedia suffered a decrease in its first quarter earnings, the Globe and Mail reported last week. To pay down debt and invest in profitable areas of the business, Godfrey said the company must cut up to $80 million out of its operating budget over the next two years, as well as boost digital revenue.

Today's announcement follows discussions among senior management about sharing content between the two newspapers. On Jan. 17, The Province's editor-in-chief Wayne Moriarty sent an email to the paper's editorial team about some of those discussions, which The Tyee obtained. We reprint some of that email below:

"The Province and The Sun have pooled resources and shared a photo department since January 2010. This eliminated duplication -- those occasions when each paper dispatched photographers to the same news events, games, concerts, meetings and other assignments. The move also enabled a rationalization of assignment staffing, with one editor from each paper able to cover the department around the clock.

"The papers centralized the assignment and editing functions for both newsrooms’ production of Travel, Driving, New Homes, At Home, and Recreational Properties. The Specialty Publications department works closely with advertisers to produce copy for both papers, with an office and supervision that is completely separate from the two newsrooms, and more closely allied with Advertising and the Creative departments.

"For special events the two newsrooms have combined staffing in order to eliminate duplication and increase the volume of content online and in the papers, including the 2010 Olympics, and provincial and civic elections.

"On Wednesday [Jan. 16], section heads and senior management from both papers met to discuss the next step in sharing content. The three areas most affected will be city, sports and entertainment. The objective is to eliminate some duplication in areas around commodity news and event coverage. Excluded from the sharing strategy will be all enterprise reporting and reporting that either paper deems necessary to maintain its unique identity."

Robyn Smith reports for The Tyee.

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